Newsom and California broke the youth

California and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D-CA) excessive, heavy-handed COVID-19 lockdowns may have broken a large share of the state’s youth, setting them back an incalculable amount.

In 2022, 10% of Californians aged 16-24 were considered “disconnected,” meaning they weren’t in school, employed, or even looking for a job. That amounts to around half a million young Californians. Public school enrollment is still declining, and it isn’t being matched by the smaller increase in private schools. And, of the students who are enrolled, 25%, about 4 million, are considered “chronically absent,” meaning they miss at least 10% of school days.

Those 16- to 24-year-olds who were “disconnected” in 2022 were 14 to 22 years old during the 2020 pandemic, ages that exactly overlap with high school and four-year universities. Those who were graduating were shown a workforce with no jobs as just about every business in the state was forcibly locked down or restricted outside of “essential” businesses that couldn’t afford to hire anyone new at the time. Those still in school, especially high school, were told that their educations were not “essential” at all as school closures carried into 2022 in some places.

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The same holds true for those now-chronically absent students, who were told for years that their educations were not essential and are now treating school with the same respect that Newsom was doing by keeping schools closed. The students who graduated since 2020 saw fewer job opportunities with businesses closed permanently thanks to excessive lockdowns, saw California’s exorbitant taxes and housing costs, and saw that Newsom was willing to give away taxpayer money without them even having to work.

The result is a broken generation coming up in a broken state, and all roads lead to Newsom and his Democratic legislature. California Democrats drove the state into the ground with their normal policies and then burrowed even further with their reckless COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. A whole generation is now reaping the consequences of being told that their educations and social lives didn’t matter.

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